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Hyperactive bosses are accused of slashing jobs and overdosing on share buy-backs to hit quarterly earnings estimates.The unease goes beyond the activities of individual firms to those of the corporate sector as a whole. It is very hard to prove that it is actually happening. As Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels noted in 1848, it sweeps away “all fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions..new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify.” Take transport.The firm sells 1,000 i Phones, i Pads or Macs every couple of minutes.
“We are putting a premium on speed,” said Jeff Immelt in his latest letter to the long-suffering shareholders of General Electric (GE).On Apple’s home turf in Silicon Valley the idea that things are continually speeding up is a commonplace.“The pace of change is accelerating,” Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg of Google assert in their book “How Google Works”.Manic trading by computers and speculators means the average Apple share changes hands every five months.Such hyperactivity in the world’s biggest company by market value makes it easy to believe that 21st-century business is pushing its pedals ever harder to the metal.